The Karnataka High Court today virtually questioned the “common sense” of Tamil Nadu officials who over-valued the properties of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three other accused in the disproportionate assets case.
“Can anybody accept the market price of marble at Rs 5,000 per square metre in 1994? At the most, the maximum price could be between Rs 100 to Rs 150. Tamil Nadu officials ...(it is a matter of) common sense,” said Justice C R Kumaraswamy, who is hearing the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others challenging their conviction in the case.
The Special Bench has been set up after the Supreme Court had on December 18 last directed the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute it to decide Jayalalithaa’s appeal within three months.
After raising doubts over the officials’ assessment of properties belonging to Jayalalithaa and other accused - Sasikala Natarajan, V N Sudhakaran and Illavarasi—Justice Kumaraswamy orally summoned them to submit proper documents to corroborate their findings during investigations.
Countering submissions made by Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh, Jayalalithaa’s Counsel B Kumar said the case against his client was politically motivated, thus ‘deliberate’ over-valuation of properties held by Jayalalithaa had been made.
Kumar contended that among several judgements the trial court has overlooked and not considered the binding nature of various Income Tax orders and decisions of the appellate tribunal of the Income Tax which had accepted the income and level of expenditure pleaded by her.
“Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) has contentiously arrived Rs 28 crore worth construction properties of all the accused, whereas the total roughly comes around Rs 10 crore ... There has been over-valuation. They did it when Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were imprisoned in Chennai, which is impermissible,” he argued.